Sorbian languages
They are also called Wendish or Lusatian. Wends, this name was given by the Germans in medieval times to all the Slavic tribes occupying the territory roughly between the Elbe and Saale rivers on the west and the Odra (Oder) River on the east. German rulers waged wars against the powerful Wends from about the 6th century, conquering and Christianizing them in the 12th century. A descendant group of the Wends, who call themselves Sorbs, has survived to the present day. The Sorbs number about 155,000 and are centered largely in the valley of the upper Spree River in Lusatia, a former region of eastern Germany and southwestern Poland. Nowadays, after the reunification of Germany, Sorbian languages are taught in schools and universities of East Germany, and so a sort of national revival is seen.

Actually, they are two different languages, Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian, but they are very similar to each other and have only slight differences. The first reminds more Czech, the second is much alike Polish. But still, both have all common features of West Slavic languages. Phonetics present some peculiarities, for example, the verb in Lower Sorbian ends its infinitive in -s'. The Upper Sorbian keeps soft r, like Czech; Lower Sorbian turned it into s'. Vice versa, Common Slavic g remains to sound g in Lower tongue, while in Upper it is h.

Morphological peculiarities are even less special. Upper Sorbian has 7 cases with vocative, but Lower doesn't have vocative case. Upper tongue forms its past tense synthetically, using flexions; the Lower one has the analytical past tense only. All nominal and verbal forms are quite alike Polish and Czech ones. The dictionary of Sorbian, however, has suffered great and strong influence of German, and the percent of Slavic words is much lower than in other modern Slavic tongues. But this doesn't mean the death or extinction of the language, which remains productive.

Sorbian Links